Was one of your New Years resolutions to do a detox diet? Did it work? While there are plenty of celebrities pushing detox diets, there is very little evidence-based scientific evidence to back up these revolutionary claims of health benefits associated with these diets.
Why are detox diets popular?
People love a quick fix and detox diets are marketed as being a short term solution to
health problems such as weight gain, constipation, headaches, lack of energy and so on. They are popular due to the short term nature, the ease of following the diet and the endorsements from trusted celebrities.
What are detox diets suppose to do?
Marketers claim that a detox diet will remove toxins that have built up in your body as a result of too much of something; such as alcohol, high fat foods, sugary foods and cigarette smoke for example. This "toxin build-up" is suppose to cause the negative side affects mentioned above and more. A detox diet can last anywhere from a few days to a few months. The diet will generally restrict certain foods, allowing only foods that will assist with the supposed detox. They can range from very strict juice only diets, to soup diets to diets that include only fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans for example.
Do detox diets work?
In a word, no! Our bodies have a very capable system that removes toxins and waste. Our kidneys, liver, lungs, gastrointestinal tract and immune system remove or neutralise toxic substances not long after we consume them. The restrictive nature of these diets also results in a person missing food from food groups that are important for good health.
However, many people feel better after trying a detox diet and this has very little to do with the elimination of toxins from the body. The more likely reason the person is feeling better is usually due to a reduction in high fat and sugary foods, higher consumption of fruit and/or vegetables, reduction in alcohol or caffeine and an increase in water consumption. All of these diet changes will assist to improve energy levels, reduce headaches, reduce constipation and assist with weight loss.
One benefit of detox diets is that the recommendations of some detox diets encourage good habits such as eating more fruit and vegetables, drinking more water and cutting back on junk food and alcohol. This might assist a person to think about their ordinary diet and how introducing healthy eating habits can impact how they feel throughout the day but a detox diet is not a long term solution.
Do you recommend detox diets?
I do not recommend detox diets, rather I suggest saving your money and seeking advice on how to have a long term healthy eating plan that is suited to your body.